Greek Presidency outlines its priorities for agriculture

Greece will host the Presidency of the EU until June 30th. Courtesy of  a briefing to the European Parliament’s agriculture committee last week Greece’s agriculture minister Athanasios Tsaftaris told MEPs that fine-tuning the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, in a manner ‘faithful to our political decisions’, will be the Presidency’s top priority.

He added: “We need to finalise the CAP reform, which was our common success,” to “give European farmers a stable working environment,” he said.

Other areas in which the Presidency will try to advance include promotion measures for EU agriculture products at home and abroad and the animal and plant health package, which also covers rules on the production and marketing of seeds.

During the debate, committee members quizzed Mr Tsaftaris about his position on the latest draft legal measures related to the CAP reform and the draft regulation on plant reproductive material (seeds). They also discussed  the current situation in the dairy sector, the fairer distribution of EU funds across the EU, support for family farming, issues related to the authorisation of GM crops in the EU and cloning.

Minister Tsaftaris also referred to the current package of EU proposals on animal and plant safety as priorities. Although the EU has the highest level of safety in the food production chain, inaccurate labelling, fraud, or failure to identify animal illnesses show that EU legislation in the field has to be modernised, he said.

“The Greek Presidency will also prioritize legislation on plant propagating material, although it is aware of concerns expressed by some MEPs and citizens, he added.